It’s official: Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” has become the longest-running No. 1 hit of all-time. The smash hit surpassed Mariah Carey and Boys II Men’s “One Sweet Day,” which held the record for 23 years. But that’s not where this story ends. Lil Nas X’s latest achievement means even more to the LGBTQ+ community that follows him.
In June, the 20-year-old rapper came out as gay via Twitter by posting lyrics from another one of his songs.
“Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more,” he tweeted. Then he instructed fans to listen to “C7osure (You Like),” a track from his debut EP 7, before “this month ends.”
In a follow-up tweet later that day, he wrote, “deadass thought i made it obvious” with a picture of his new cover art that showed the colors of the pride flag.
Nowhere in the lyrics did Lil Nas X actually come out, which led to a lot of speculation from fans. The tweet caused such a stir that he had to actually say the words “I am gay” in an interview with BBC a week later.
Although more and more celebrities have come out publicly in the past few years, no R&B artist has received this much attention after announcing their sexual identity since Frank Ocean in 2012. What sets Lil Nas X aside, though, is the way he’s done it.
He has controlled his own narrative each step of the way, which is a new concept for these type of public announcements. This level of transparency, especially from a gay black rapper who is also the matermind behind a hit country song (despite what Billboard may think) has caused us all to take a second and really look at the whole situation in a completely different light.
Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” has been the No. 1 song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart since April, breaking streaming records at every turn and fending off two new Taylor Swift singles. It’s hard to be convinced that witchcraft isn’t involved.
Lil Nas X is the first artist to hold the number one spot with a debut Hot 100 song since Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” back in 2017. The 20-year old Atlanta native, who apparently started his journey with a really big SoundCloud following and an even bigger dream, was able to create a bop so good that it’s gone from viral internet phenomenon to making its own mark on the music industry.
While there are still a bunch of nay-sayers (or more appropriately, “neigh”-sayers in this case) out there waiting for this moment to finally end, Lil Nas X also has a pretty big fan base cheering him on every step of the way.
Breaking records is one thing, but this kid is breaking boundaries – and that means even more to those who rarely feel seen or heard.